So Aggravating

I only use the word aggravate to mean “make worse.” When I hear people use it to mean “annoy,” I always, always, always, notice it and make a small mental translation.

But, although this is true, I want you to know that I’m not “correcting.” I’m “translating.” That’s because I know that aggravate has been used to mean annoy for over 300 years and it’s not about to stop doing so any time soon.

I’m translating from standard, fairly legit (if informal) English into my special form of savethesemicolon-speak. So I’m not saying that you’re wrong. I’m just explaining the twitch you see. Yes, I’m talking to you.

[By the way, I make a similar translation when people say “like” to mean “as though,” instead of “similar to”. As in: “She was acting like (-as though-) she was the big queen of the world.” I sometimes use it that way, and when I hear myself do it, I self-translate.]


5 Responses to “So Aggravating”

  1. February 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    I vs. me is almost definitely a matter of trying to sound correct. When they were kids, they were told not to say “Jimmy and me went fishing.” And it stuck.

    People also say “myself” instead of me. Again, I think that THEY think that it sounds correct or business-like.

    I’ve said it before, but screwing up “whom” is the worst for me. I think everyone should just say “who” all the time unless they really know how to use “whom” correctly.

    Lay vs. lie I understand a little more:

    1. You lay an object down.
    2. When you’re tired, you lie down.
    3. Yesterday, when tired, you lay down.
    4. Yesterday, you laid an object down.

    It IS a little weird.

  2. February 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Yeah, these errors and the one above (“their”) aren’t nearly as annoying as the whole I vs. me issue, or the lay vs. lie confusion. Seriously. Why does everyone want to say “I” when it should be “me”, and ditto “lay”?!

  3. February 26, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Whom would abuse words like that? If one doesn’t use “lay” right, does it mean they’re teacher’s might should’ve done better or that he didn’t pay attention?

    My father emailed a bunch of advertisements for Mississippi, extolling its many virtues. Unfortunately, the one explaining that Mississippians are literate had a misspelled word.

    My wife and I read the circulars sent out by our daughter’s schools. The errors in grammar, spelling, and usage were amusing at first, then disturbing.

  4. November 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    On the subject of not correcting people, enjoy this video. 🙂


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